Open Mic Replay - An Extensive Catalog of Our Audio Interviews

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Senator John Thune- SD
This week's guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator John Thune. In this interview, the South Dakota Republican shares his frustration with the chamber's failure to craft a national voluntary labeling bill for foods that contain ingredients from genetically enhanced crops. Senator Thune points attention to the role the minority must play in bringing the issue to a successful conclusion. Thune also addresses President Obama's plan to cut crop insurance funding and questions the administration's commitment to seeing congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. While Senator Thune supports additional trade with Cuba, he has reservations about the steps President Obama has taken to normalize trading between the two countries.

Rod Snyder, President, Field to Market
This week's guest on Open Mic is Rod Snyder, President of Field to Market. With nearly 100 members and growth in active projects, sourcing programs and participating acres, the alliance for sustainable agriculture is answering consumer calls for transparency in food production. In this interview, Snyder discusses how the food production industry is placing greater emphasis on sustainability and responds to calls for federal standards to define sustainable agriculture.

John Bode, Pres. Corn Refiners Association
This week's guest on Open Mic is John Bode, CEO and President of the Corn Refiners Association, who talks about the chaos, confusion and higher food costs that could result if Vermont's GMO labeling law goes into effect July 1. Senate Agriculture leaders are wrestling with a path forward to preempt the law with a new federal labeling standard. In this timely interview, Bode offers results of a study measuring the per household cost of state mandated labels. Bode offers the Corn Refiners view of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement and suggests needed change in how the federal government develops federal nutrition policy.

Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
This week's guest on Open Mic is U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who shares make or break provisions of the GMO labeling bill scheduled for consideration this week. The North Dakota Democrat sees the food labeling debate as another opportunity to consider a voluntary Country-of-Origin Labeling program for meat. She also talks about currency manipulation and expanded trade opportunities for farmers and ranchers. Heitkamp favors expanded trade with Cuba and has introduced legislation to allow private financing for commodities. She's concerned about attacks to current farm programs and has begun policy discussions on the next farm bill, with a focus on research and rural development.

Richard Wilkins
This week's Open Mic guest is Richard Wilkins, President of the American Soybean Association. In this week's interview, Wilkins discusses how the vacancy on the Supreme Court may affect the Obama administration's environmental policy, the soybean farmer's view of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, whether or not the new farm bill protects farmers during times of lower crop prices and the ASA's view of proposed cuts to crop insurance. Wilkins says the clock is ticking for Congress to address a nationwide biotech food labeling law and looks forward to Senate Agriculture Committee action later this week.

Jim Walker, Vice President of Case IH North America Agriculture Division
This week's guest on Open Mic is Jim Walker, Vice President of Case IH North America Agriculture Division and Chair of the Ag Sector Board for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. A progressive downturn in net farm income has brought a significant decline in the equipment industry. In this interview Walker tells Agri-Pulse he expects further declines but says advances in technology will fuel future sales as farmers strive for both efficiency and sustainability. Walker says new tax policy will benefit both farmers and equipment manufacturers. Walker sees some areas for compromise on farm programs but not for risk protection from crop insurance.

Zippy Duvall, Pres. AFBF
This week's Open Mic Guest is the new President of the American Farm Bureau Federation Zippy Duvall. As a representative of the nation's largest general farm organization, Duvall says it's important for the farm and rural voice to be heard on the national and local level. In this interview Duvall speaks to the industry's ongoing battle to stop the EPA's Waters of the US regulations, the need for a national voluntary labeling law and the challenging plight of the cotton industry. Duvall says the AFBF is still evaluating the text of the TPP but is ready to join the fight for greater access to global markets.

Greg Ibach - President NASDA
This week's guest on Open Mic is Greg Ibach, President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. The group begins their 100th anniversary celebration with their winter policy forum this week in Washington. In this interview Ibach shares the group's hope for increased trade opportunities with the Trans Pacific Partnership trade accord, their concern for pollinator health and for over reach by the EPA with WOTUS regulations. While safe food is a top priority for farmers and government, Ibach says NASDA has reservations regarding implementation of the Food Safety Moderization Act.

Jean Ronnei - President School Nutrition Assn.
This week's guest on Open Mic is Jean Ronnei, President of the School Nutrition Association. The Senate Agriculture Committee took the first step toward school nutrition reauthorization last week with a bipartisan compromise on critical reform issues. Jean Ronnei says the legislation addresses both hunger and nutrition. Ronnei shares her concerns over declining student participation and funding for school nutrition as well as hope that proposed reforms can help districts provide healthy and tasty foods that students want to eat

Ambassador Darci Vetter - USTR
This week's interview features Ambassador Darci Vetter, Chief Agriculture Negotiator with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Ambassador Vetter expects a positive year for global trade with the anticipated congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPA) agreement and conclusion of the ongoing Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks. Vetter responds to speculation of a potential challenge of U.S. policy for soybean risk protection and possible trade reaction to a pending USDA decision to designate cottonseed as an oilseed. While both U.S. export volume and value may be lower, Vetter believes agricultural trade will be less affected by global economics than other products.

Dr. Gary Adams - NCC
This week's guest on Open Mic is Dr. Gary Adams, President and CEO of the National Cotton Council. In this update you'll hear why the industry is calling on a cottonseed designation from the USDA and concerns the cotton and textile industry have with the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. While the 2014 Farm Bill provided greater risk management tools for farmers, many producers may be challenged to secure financing for this season's production. Adams also explains the cotton industry's concerns with USDA's definitions of those deemed actively engaged in farming.

Bob Stallman
This week's Open Mic guest is American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. In this interview, Stallman reflects on his tenure as leader of the nation's largest general farm organization and many of the changes that occurred. Stallman discusses accomplishments in the last session of Congress and identifies ominous challenges still facing the industry on Capitol Hill and in courtrooms across the country. The Texas farmer and rancher shares thoughts on the debate over GMO labeling, comprehensive tax reform, risk management and why EPA water quality regulations are such a threat to private property rights

Andy LaVigne - CEO ASTA
Our guest on this edition of Agri-Pulse Open Mic is Andy LaVigne, President and CEO of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA). The seed industry is among many groups hoping Washington will approve legislation to establish a national voluntary GMO labeling standard. In this in-depth interview, Andy LaVigne discusses industry implications if Congress fails to develop national guidelines to override state statutes and how the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is the first to acknowledge seed technology in global commerce. LaVigne says plant breeding technology is developing faster than government regulatory systems with potential consequences for both farmers and consumers. Finally, LaVigne offers thoughts on recent company mergers.

Representative David Young
Iowa Congressman David Young discusses the wins and losses for agriculture in last week's congressional action on spending and taxes in this week's Open Mic. While agriculture failed to see language to stop the EPA from enforcing its WOTUS regulations and couldn't establish a national standard for voluntary GM food labeling, he shares other policy victories on taxes and renewable fuels. For the year ahead, Young discuss his goals for comprehensive tax reform, continued support for renewable energy, the potential for a multi-year budget process and he shares some pointed questions for 2016 presidential candidates when they visit his home state of Iowa.

Rep. Collin Peterson
This week's guest on Open Mic is Rep. Collin Peterson, the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee. In this interview, the Minnesota Democrat shares his concerns with the current farm law and on how farmers are using its risk management tools. Peterson identifies what he sees as two flaws in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and shares his thoughts following a recent hearing on the Farm Credit System. Peterson says it's too soon to pass judgement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and believes it may be an uphill battle to find congressional approval.



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